Book Beginnings: Grand Hotel Abyss by Stuart Jeffries

Not only does Gilion host the European Reading and TBR 22 in 22 on her Rose City Reader blog but also Book Beginnings on Friday. While I’m no stranger to her European Reading Challenge, only recently I decided to participate in Book Beginnings on Friday. This week I’m back with another post.

For Book Beginnings on Friday Gilion asks us to simply “share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week, or just a book that caught your fancy and you want to highlight.”


Not long before he died in 1969, Theodor Adorno told an interviewer: “I established a theoretical model of thought. How could I have suspected that people would want to implement it with Molotov cocktails?”

Last week I featured Lea Ypi’s 2022 memoir Free: Coming of Age at the End of History and the week before it was the 1969 anthology Growing Up Jewish edited by Jay David. This week it’s Stuart Jeffries’s 2016 Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School.

During the late 19th century and early 20th, Marxists believed the believed the socialist revolution would occur first in industrialized Western Europe, probably Germany. However, when such revolutionary change finally happened  it wasn’t in Marx’s birthplace of Germany but Russia. In hopes of understanding why the revolution never took hold in Germany a group of mostly Jewish intellectuals formed in 1924 founded what would be commonly called the Frankfort School. With seed money from a local industrialist they built an institute dedicated to the critical analysis of Western capitalist society. Shuttered by the Nazis upon seizing power, its guiding faculty fled to safer locales like England and America. In the ensuing decades this diaspora of Marxist-inspired thinkers and their protégés were instrumental in shaping debates within academia and leftist circles over culture, economics, and politics.

12 thoughts on “Book Beginnings: Grand Hotel Abyss by Stuart Jeffries

    • Indeed! Believe me, with this book there’s no shortage of things to learn and think about. Thanks for dropping by and commenting! Happy reading to you, too!


  1. Pingback: Book Beginnings: Spain in Our Hearts by Adam Hochschild | Maphead's Book Blog

  2. Pingback: Book Beginnings: The Pursuit of Italy by David Gilmour | Maphead's Book Blog

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